Friday, January 18, 2013

Jams For Jesus

[Fiction Friday Challenge #01 - 1st Draft]
Your character commits a crime. (What is the motive?) Your character's husband/wife/S.O., discovers your character changing, dealing with the evidence, and wants to know what's going on. Write the conversation. What happens next?

Wh-eeash. Wh-eeash. 

She paused at the bottom of the basement stairs and glared down with resentment at the orthopedic shoes she was forced to wear. She hated those shoes and the sounds it made. It was the only type of shoes she could wear comfortably without having shooting pains up her spine. She glared at the shoes again. Turning to shut carefully the opening in the wall, cleverly built with shelves to hide a door to a secret room, she bend over to pick up a basket of her jellied jars and saw bits of bloodied cheese-cloth peeking out from under the wall. She swore, then chastised herself for swearing! She didn’t have time and toed some boxes to hide them instead.

Giving the shoes a final sneer, she sighed resigned and struggled up the stairs with the basket. The wooden steps creaked, each board bending under protest at her gargantuan body. Wh-eeash. Wh-eeash.

She paused halfway up, the basket clincking while she tried to catch her breath. The upstairs wooden cuckoo clock chimed 12 o’clock; she was late, very late. Raising her fat arm, she swiped her hair and sweat beads aside, and hurried up the final last steps. She stopped when she heard her kitchen screen door opened.

“Mar-tha! Maaar-thaaa! It’s me, Alma!”

Martha’s face twisted in disgust. She’d known Alma’s voice anywhere. That harlot’s voice was like a sow in heat….after being ridden, she thought crudely and snorted!


Martha took a deep breath and assumed the expression befitting a Christian sister with the Women’s Auxillary Group, Daughters of Virtue of the Southern Mount Baptist Church, affectionately known as DOVs. Her face suddenly filled with warmth and dimpled smiles, she walked out into the kitchen.

“Martha! For landsakes! You aren’t ready yet. You aren’t wearing that, are you?” Alma eyed Martha's polyester periwinkle blue  housecoat up and down over her bifocals. “John is in the automobile waiting to drive us! For landsakes! Hurry up and get changed! Are those the new batches of jelly?” Making shooing noises, Alma grabbed the basket to inspect the jellies. Alma had turned 65 last Tuesday and justified her bossy nature by believing that anyone younger than 65, needed her guidance. Martha was 64. Of course, she did not hate Alma because of what happened 10 years ago - the night Alma got drunk and tried to seduce the back porch...of Church!

Turning to walk towards her bedroom at the back of the house, Martha’s face twisted into a rage. Stupid heifer! She hated Alma.

Walking down the hallway, Martha passed walls of pictures; of family, church picnics….and tenants - she rented her garage room to retired Christians. Gently straightening the frames, she heard snoring in the other room and smiled. That would be George, her husband of 45 years. She met him when she was 19 and he was just 22. Sweet George. She loved him fiercely.

“Martha! Hurry on up!”

Martha sighed. She hated that....breathing slowing, she allowed herself to think...SLUT!


Two hours later, firmly seated at the DOVs round table, sounds of delicate, joyful bites of crackers and Martha's new jelly concoction, the meeting was ajourned. The Daughters had agreed that they were going to sell Martha’s famous jars of jelly again to help raise the funds they needed for the next Southern Christian Convention. The ladies were talking excitedly for ‘Jams for Jesus’ night and the Jam Competition they were organizing this year again. Some in hush voices, wondered if after 3 years, anyone would be able to break Martha’s winning streak – they all agreed her jelly jams were to die for!


Waving goodbye to Alma, Martha walked in straight to the kitchen and immediately saw the yellow note stuck to the fridge. George had gone into town and would be back in time for supper.

Good. Martha thought as she hung her coat. That gave her enough time to bottle more of the new batches of the jelly – they should be cooled enough now down in the basement. She chortled, excited at the new recipe she had used! It had a spicy savory kick to it! As Martha headed to the basement, a loud knock came at the front door. Who the hell could that be? Walking towards the door, Martha saw that it was Sheriff Johnson. Keeping calm, she opened the door exclaiming with a smile,

“Good afternoon Sheriff Johnson, how are you? Tara and the kids?”

“Good Afternoon Martha – we are all fine. I’m sorry Martha but I am here on official visit.”

“Why Sheriff, sounds serious.”

“Martha, Jebediah Le Croix was a tenant of yours?”

“Why yes. But he left a few weeks ago to go back home to his people in New Orleans, I think. A sister?.”

“Yes that is the accounting folks in town been telling me. His sister called us, he is missing.”

“On no! I am so sorry to hear this, he was such a gentlemen!”

“So Martha, nothing suspicious you could think off?”

“No Sheriff. He was excited in leaving.”

“Alright Martha. If you think on anything else, could you give me a call?”

“Oh I certainly will Sheriff…my Lord, I’ll say a prayer too!”

Closing the door behind her, she purse her lips and started humming “What a Friend We Have in Jesus” and headed back to go down to the basement. Reaching the bottom of the stairs, she pushed a lever to release the hidden door. Kicking aside the boxes, she reached down to pick up the bloodied cheese-cloths and walked in and reached up to turn a light on. Still humming, Martha threw the stained cloths into a black garbage bag and walked over to the cooling vat of liquid. Fishing a large ladle hanging on the side of the wall, she began gently scooping all the gel-substance on the surface into a sieve and bucket untill only black liquid was left. She smiled at the amount gathered; she was going to be able to make at least 30 jars of jelly!

Please with the quantity, she sang even louder…”Are we weak and heavy laden, cumbered with a load of care…” - and did not hear her front door opening and the footsteps overhead.

Wrinkling her nose over the noxious smell, Martha grabbed the edges of the vat and hauled it to a make shift sink and heaved over the contents. The coppery bitter smell intensified as soupy, black, thick liquid, and small and big floating brown bits, made its way out of the vat, over into the sink. As Martha poured the remaining liquid out, big solid chunks of….bones….fell out. Whistling now, she began gathering the bones, as long as her arm, and threw them into the waiting black garbage bag below her. Peering into the vat, Martha reached in to free a last piece of bone, and held it up against the light. It was a human skull. She giggled and started whispering to the skull….

“Martha….? I'm back early. Sheriff Johnson gave me a ride....” A shocked George looked in from the opening of the wall. “What’s going on here”? Walking in, he looked around the room. On the far right on metaled shelves, neatly stacked, were several human skulls, beside each, a framed photo. Walking closer, he realized in horror, they were all pictures of tenants Martha and he had over the last 3 years. In the middle shelve, an empty space with a framed picture of…..Jebediah Le Croix, the missing man. Leaning closer, George grimaced at the scotch-taped yellow paper that said, "recipe for cajun savory"!

Following behind George, a voice apologising to Martha for the disturbance, explaining that he had run into George and asked if he could buy some of the famous jelly jams, was Sheriff Johnson! He skidded to a stop, his words caught midway. “Oh God Martha! What the hell….!” Sherrif Johnson began swearing, ripped his walkie talkie to call the station.

“Martha. What have you done?” George asked in hushed tones. In the background Sheriff Johnson was yelling asking for more officers and a forensic team.

Martha answered in a weird voice, still staring at the skull, "They were all almost on their way to Heaven, George. At least that's what happened to the first one, Mr. Andrew Dickson. He had died and I didn't know what to do. I had just returned from Church. The Daughters had decided on making jams to help raise the funds needed for our Convention. You weren't here. You were visiting our son in Virginia." Continuing, she smiled, "Besides, they were all old, I was just helping them to meet Jesus. And, they.....they were instruments in helping raise money for God!"

Martha turned from the skull to George, then to Sheriff Johnson as he walked in again, this time with handcuffs in tow.

Martha screamed!
“God damn you! I was just going to finish bottling up Mr. Le Croix! He was the last of my savory batch. I was going to start with my sweet batch next week. It was going to be a new recipe I was trying out!!” Eyeing Alma’s picture on the table as Sheriff Johnson cuffed her - she was going to frame Alma's picture that evening. Too bad. Martha thought. She had ordered all that extra organic honey for Alma.

-- The End --

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  1. OH MY!!! That was gripping and terrifying....such a eerie character. Loved it!

    1. Thank you lady!!

      I believe there's a grandmother on some corner being ornery with their jam jellies ;)

  2. HOLY SHIT! That was astonishing! I loved it! In that sick, can't-look-away-from-the-horror way... LOVED IT. Fantastic stuff; you had fuuuuun, didn't you?!

    1. I TOTALLY had fun....and thank YOU for such a great suggested prompt - to which I would have been without Mar-tha. ;)

  3. Holy shit! That was amazing. And I realize now that I pretty much wrote exactly what Molly did, but I don't care because OH MY FREAKIN' GOD. This is an amazing short story. WOW. WOW WOW WOW.

    1. you know...great minds think alike...I love the 'holy shit'!! Thank you :)

  4. You are so ...awesome! I am speechless. This is so scary and twisty and fun. I swear your stories are like little horror movies. I am so glad you joined the fiction group. You have mad talent!

    1. Thank you missy! Because of you...I am here. Mad or not...thank you!

  5. I am never eating jam again.

    Ew, ew, ew!! She was such a good character. From her shoes to her singing voice. Excellent.

    1. jelly jams can be a scary thing....Martha made sure of that lol and thank you!! :)

  6. For real? So, I love forensic mysteries - especially the CSI shows on TV. This is WAY better. That was an incredible look into the mind of a sick, twisted person. The suspense held me all the way through from the beginning hint of the bloodied cheese cloth, to the organic honey for Alma. I will look at jelly in another light from here on out...Thank you for sharing.